Savolainen finds evidence that employment is a consequence rather than a cause of desistance from offending
Most perspectives assume that individuals who become employed are less likely to offend than those who do not. The critical issue has to do with the timing of employment transitions in the criminal trajectory. The turning point hypothesis expects reductions in offending after job entries, whereas the maturation perspective assumes desistance to have occurred ahead of successful transitions to legitimate work. Focusing on a sample of recidivist males who became employed during 2001–2006 (N = 783), Professor Jukka Savolainen and his colleague Torbjorn Skardhamar (Research Department, Statistics Norway) used smoothing spline regression techniques to model changes in criminal offending around the point of entry to stable employment. Consistent with the maturation perspective, their results showed that most offenders had desisted prior to the employment transition and that becoming employed was not associated with further reductions in criminal behavior. Consistent with the turning point hypothesis, Savolainen and Skardhamar did identify a subset of offenders who became employed during an active phase of the criminal career and experienced substantial reductions in criminal offending thereafter. However, this trajectory describes less than 2 percent of their sample. The patterns observed in this research suggest that transition to employment is best viewed as a consequence rather than as a cause of criminal desistance. The full results of this study appeared in Criminology (2014, Volume 52, Issue 2).
Story published 05/2014
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